Dodgers vs. Padres score: Takeaways from San Diego's Game 2 victory in NLDS

The San Diego Padres took down the Los Angeles Dodgers, 5-3, in Game 2 of the NLDS Wednesday. The Padres' win means they've evened the best-of-five series at 1-1, so it's tantamount to a three-game series now with the Padres having home-field. This was start to finish the most entertaining game of the 2022 postseason to this point and one of the more entertaining baseball games one might see. There was action on top of drama on top of more action. 

Let's dive in. This won't be exhaustive, because there was just too much fun stuff. 

Bombs away early

The fun started nearly immediately. 

Manny Machado homered off Clayton Kershaw in the first to give the Padres a quick lead. 

Freddie Freeman homered in the bottom half to tie things up. Max Muncy homered in the second to give the Dodgers a lead. After the Padres scored two in the top of the third -- with a rally that included a Machado double -- Trea Turner homered to tie it, his second long ball of the series.  

In a game many expected to be low-scoring -- the total, or "over/under" was 7 -- the offenses teamed up for six runs and four home runs through the first three innings. 

The action wasn't limited to home runs or the first three innings, either. 

Dodgers defense gives and takes away in sixth

With one out in the sixth, Trea Turner committed an error on a Wil Myers grounder. Next up was Jurickson Profar, who he singled home the unearned run. 

Then, on an attempted safety squeeze, Dodgers pitcher Brusdar Graterol made a shortstop-like play to nab the runner at home. Austin Nola followed with a rocket to center that would have scored two runs. Instead, Cody Bellinger made an over-the-shoulder catch on the warning track. 

Suarez's magic in the bottom half

The action didn't slow down. A Will Smith infield single was followed by a line shot Max Muncy single, putting runners on first and third with no outs in the sixth for the Dodgers. The Padres removed starter Yu Darvish and swapped in Robert Suarez in relief. In situations like these, giving up just one run isn't all that horrible. Just about the only way to realistically not allow a run would be to get strikeouts or a strikeout and a double play. 

Suarez came through with the latter. He struck Justin Turner out and then induced an inning-ending twin killing off the bat of Gavin Lux. 

At the time, it felt like the moment the Padres seized total control of the game. 

Of course, they had to deal with another major threat.

Suarez escapes in the seventh, too

With one out in the bottom of the seventh, Cody Bellinger singled and Mookie Betts sent a liner to the left-center gap. Padres center fielder Trent Grisham made a great effort and one could argue he should have caught it -- though it would have been a spectacular catch -- but instead missed it. Bellinger ended up on third, as he had to hang around first in case Grisham caught it, so the Betts double gave the Dodgers runners on second and third with one out. 

With the infield drawn in, Trea Turner hit a hard grounder right at Manny Machado, who looked Bellinger back before getting the runner at first (the throw drew first baseman Wil Myers off the bag and he did well to adjust and then avoid falling into the trap set by Turner, who went down to the ground in hopes of luring Myers into a rundown). 

After intentionally walking Freddie Freeman, Suarez gave up a hard line drive to Will Smith, but Grisham was positioned perfectly and the threat was over. 

The Padres still had six outs to go while clinging to this one-run lead. 

Still, let's tip our caps to Robert Suarez. The 31-year-old reliever, who spent his career playing in Mexico and Japan, had never even been in Minor League Baseball until 2022. On April 7, he made his MLB debut with the Padres and launched a very good rookie year. 

And it's possible he just recorded the six biggest outs of the Padres' season. 

Cronenworth's insurance

Perhaps he felt like his teammates on the mound were having to sweat it out too much with that one-run lead, because Jake Cronenworth crushed a prodigious home run with one out in the eighth. 

That's 416 feet of breathing room. The insurance run gave the Padres a 5-3 lead. 

Hader's four-out save

The drama was far from over. With two outs in the bottom of the eighth, Gavin Lux singled and Padres manager Bob Melvin decided to go to closer Josh Hader. Only four outs remained, but Hader hadn't gone longer than an inning since Aug. 14, 2020, the date of his last four-out save. 

Hader also famously had an atrocious stretch of pitching this year. From July 4 to Aug. 28, Hader appeared in 17 games and allowed runs in nine of them, adding up to a miserable 17.31 ERA in that stretch. He didn't allow an earned run in his last 10 outings, so it's possible he's fixed, but there's always that worry that his struggles come back. 

Hader walked Trayce Thompson but then got Austin Barnes to fly out to deep center to end the eighth. In the ninth, he got two outs before Freddie Freeman crushed a ball off the right-center wall that looked like it might be a home run off the bat but fell for a double. Will Smith came to the plate as the tying run and flew out to deep right on a hard liner. 

It wasn't clean, but Hader slowed flashes, particularly in striking out Trea Turner for the second out of the ninth, where he looked like vintage Hader. It's something to keep in mind moving forward in this series. 

Playoff Kershaw? 

Fair or not, the subject of Clayton Kershaw "choking" in the playoffs is a favorite for many. He's absolutely not a choke artist or anything that extreme, because he's had a litany of great outings under immense pressure. It just isn't accurate to suggest he somehow shrinks from every big moment. 

He has, however, been a decent tick worse in his career in the playoffs and it's not a bunch of small-sample flukiness. Coming into this game, he had a career 2.48 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in the regular season compared to 4.19 and 1.07. His rate of home runs allowed in the playoffs (1.3 HR/9) was nearly double that of the regular season (0.7 HR/9). 

This one was a mixed bag. He struck out six without walking anyone. He also gave up three runs on six hits -- including a home run and double -- in five innings. That's a 5.40 ERA and 1.20 WHIP after he posted 2.28 and 0.94 in the regular season. 

He definitely wasn't bad and didn't "choke." He didn't lose the Dodgers the game. He matched Yu Darvish by allowing three runs in five innings. He also wasn't good enough to shut the naysayers up. The narrative lives to fight another day. It's persistent. 

Next up: Game 3 Friday

After an off-day on Thursday, this series moves to Petco Park in San Diego for Game 3 on Friday. The first pitch is set for 8:37 p.m. ET. 

The Padres will start lefty Blake Snell. He looked like his old Cy Young self down the stretch, posting a 2.19 ERA (2.23 FIP) in his last 14 starts while striking out 105 in 78 innings in that span. He was bad last time out, though, against the Mets in the Wild Card Series, walking six and giving up a home run in his 3 1/3 innings. He threw five scoreless last time he saw the Dodgers, but was shelled by them the previous time. 

The Dodgers will start righty Tony Gonsolin (16-1, 2.14). He was actually a run worse on the road this season, but it was still a sparkling 2.66 ERA. He only faced the Padres once and gave up just one run in seven innings of work. It might be a short outing, however, as Gonsolin missed all of September with a forearm injury. He had a two-inning tuneup on Oct. 3 in which he threw 40 pitches. 

Live updates
See New Posts
@Dodgers via Twitter
October 13, 2022, 4:24 AM
@Dodgers via Twitter
October 13, 2022, 4:13 AM

Padres win Game 2

The series is tied, 1-1, just like the Phillies-Braves series. What a fun playoffs this has been so far and we've barely even getting started. 

October 13, 2022, 4:13 AM

This is the good stuff.

October 13, 2022, 4:12 AM

Freeman doubles

Will Smith will be the tying run. Freeman's shot nearly left the yard and banged hard off the wall on a fly. What a game. 

October 13, 2022, 4:10 AM

2 down

Hader gets Turner swinging. It's up to Freddie Freeman to find a way to extend the game and bring the tying run to the plate. 

October 13, 2022, 4:08 AM

1 out

Betts with a fly out to shallow left

October 13, 2022, 4:06 AM

Here we go, bottom nine

The Dodgers have the top of the order coming up in Mookie Betts, Trea Turner and Freddie Freeman. Looks like Josh Hader is coming back out to go for the four-out save. Buckle up. 

October 13, 2022, 4:04 AM

The Dodgers have stranded multiple runners in each of the last three innings.

October 13, 2022, 3:57 AM

If Taylor can't hit because of his injury, fine, but that seemed like a spot for Miguel Vargas rather than Barnes. Shrug.

October 13, 2022, 3:56 AM

Threat ended

Barnes flies out to deep center. Not quite the warning track, but deep enough to get the fans in attendance excited for a second.

October 13, 2022, 3:55 AM

Hader walks Thompson

Austin Barnes is pinch hitting for Cody Bellinger (who would've had to deal with a lefty-lefty matchup and presumably that was the issue). 

October 13, 2022, 3:53 AM

Hader entering for the four-out save

He hasn't gotten four outs in a game since 2020. He also rarely enters in the middle of an inning. Did it only five times during the regular season.

October 13, 2022, 3:48 AM

Tying run to the plate, again

Gavin Lux singles with two outs and now it'll be Trayce Thompson as the tying run. The Padres are going to closer Josh Hader. Remember, he had that stretch where he was atrocious this year, but he has really settled in. 

October 13, 2022, 3:46 AM

Going into the bottom of the eighth

The Padres have an 88 percent chance of winning Game 2 and evening the series at 1-1.

October 13, 2022, 3:39 AM

If San Diego's lead holds

Then this would be the Padres' first ever postseason win over the Dodgers.

October 13, 2022, 3:35 AM

That's a potentially massive insurance run for San Diego. Padres now up to 86 percent to win Game 2.

October 13, 2022, 3:29 AM

Padres tack on

Jake the Rake Cronenworth hits a solo homer to give the Padres a huge insurance run. Failing to capitalize on a golden opportunity and then giving up a solo homer is the kinda thing the Padres do against the Dodgers, not the other way around.

October 13, 2022, 3:28 AM
@Padres via Twitter
October 13, 2022, 3:27 AM

Huge for Suarez and the Pads to get out of that jam. That last out of the seventh took the Padres' chances of winning Game 2 from 60 percent to 75 percent, per win expectancy.

October 13, 2022, 3:23 AM

Suarez escapes

Not a stretch to say Robert Suarez got the six biggest outs of the Padres season these last two innings. San Diego is nursing a 4-3 lead through seven innings.

October 13, 2022, 3:21 AM

As great of a play as it would've been, I think Grisham should've caught that.

October 13, 2022, 3:16 AM

Padres presently have a 70 percent chance to win Game 2. Have to say, that feels high.

October 13, 2022, 3:15 AM
See More